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Florida Injury Attorney

Can We Make Cars Safer for Pedestrians and Cyclists?


Over the past decade, the number of fatalities has fallen for those who are riding in automobiles. At the same time, however, the number of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities has actually jumped—from 6,300 in 2010 to 8,800. As Bloomberg notes, the roads are much safer now for those travelling inside a car and more dangerous for those travelling outside one.

Fortunately, technology exists that could make the roads much safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Car manufacturers are resisting the changes, which means that those traveling by foot or on bike need to take safety into their own hands. Our personal injury lawyers in Coral Gables can help if you are hurt.

Technology Exists to Protect Pedestrians

Most technological innovation has focused on improving the safety of vehicles for those riding inside. Think of the creation of air bags and advanced driver assistance systems like blind spot warnings. Consequently, occupants have seen their fatality rate drop dramatically in the past 100 years.

But technology also exists that could protect those outside the vehicle from getting struck by one. For example:

  • Pedestrian detection systems can automatically apply the breaks when sensors detect the vehicle is about to collide with someone travelling by foot. These systems are only used by some brands, such as BMW.
  • Speed limiters can prevent the vehicle from going about a certain speed, which reduces the odds of a collision. Slower-moving vehicles are also less deadly should they strike a pedestrian. Speed limiters are already used on e-scooters, which cannot go faster than 15 miles per hour.
  • Ignition interlock devices, which require that a motorist blow into a device that checks their breath alcohol concentration. These devices are already required for many people convicted of drunk driving. Newer “passive” systems have entered the market that can operate without a person blowing into them.

Other people point to autonomous vehicles as a potential technology with the promise of protecting pedestrians. These self-driving vehicles are programmed to go below a certain speed, which means they should be less likely to crash. Nevertheless, some autonomous vehicles have already struck pedestrians, sometimes fatally, so they are not a surefire way of avoiding accidents.

As Bloomberg notes, many car companies are resistant to installing equipment that might truly protect pedestrians. For that reason, it is likely that the public must take the issue into their own hands.

Pedestrians Can Reduce Accidents Themselves

Since many collisions happen at night, pedestrians should take steps to increase their visibility. Walking with a flashlight is one option. Wearing a reflective jacket or putting reflective tape on a backpack is another popular option.

Never jaywalk but cross at designated areas, such as the crosswalk. Wait for the lights to tell you to go and always check both ways, just to be safe. Some motorists making right-hand turns on red lights fly into the intersection even when people are trying to cross.

If you have been injured, speak with a Florida personal injury lawyer at Halpern Santos & Pinkert, P.A. today. Our team offers free consultations to those who call or send us an online message.




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